The Heart Ball was good for the heart--brimming with success, prominent leadership and funny quotes. Phyllis Diller came onstage flaunting hair 2 feet wide. She left the crowd hysterical: "You know you're old when . . . someone compliments you on your alligator shoes and you're barefoot!"
The Lettermen were easy on the heart, too, with old songs like "When I Fall in Love" and "Put Your Head on My Shoulder."
Actress Constance Towers Gavin joined forces with Arco CEO Mike Bowlin and Ernst & Young executive Sam Bell to stage the affair. Actress Meredith MacRae and Sandra McNutt Comrey, an Arthur Anderson executive, put together the silent and live auctions, which MacRae said brought in more than ever. Everyone walked out with silver heart frames from Geary's in Beverly Hills, thanks to owner Bruce Meyer.
In the crowd: two former ambassadors at one table--Jack Gavin (Connie' husband), former ambassador to Mexico, and Peter Daily (with wife Jackie) who was ambassador to Ireland. More first nighters: Evelyn and Philip Avery of Atlanta, David and Kaki Allan, Bruce and Gretchen Willison, Bob and Robin Paulson, Janet and Joe McNeil, Peter Mullin with Merle Miller, Kent and Joyce Kresa (who donated a visit to their Monterey Bay home for auction).
The cause is good. Bowlin said, "Heart disease is still the No. 1 killer in the U.S., but it has been reduced by 45% in the last 10 years."
Heavenly Jade: "This has always been my favorite museum," said Eunice Goodan, lagging behind with her husband, Doug, at the Dinosaur Ball to look at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County's premiering exhibition, "Stones from Heaven: Ancient Chinese Jade." The Goodans were among 700 meandering through artifacts including the "Jade Suit Sewn with Gold Thread," pendants, discs, sword guards and the jade lathe.
But the party under a big white tent awaited and it was a goody. Museum director James Powell welcomed the crowd, and everywhere a red carpet welcome was put out by Trustees chairman Richard Volpert, President H. Frederick Christie and his wife, Sue, co-chairs Patricia Lombard and Kevin W. Sharer and Joan D. Wrede, president of Alliance, a support group for the museum.
The party is likely to gross close to $330,000 and net nearly $200,000.
The Dinosaur Ball always calls for long gowns: Lynn Brengel (with husband Doug) had one of the prettiest--Escada taffeta. Sammy Lee looked nice in his black tie and Katie Osterloh, with her husband, Al, was wearing a jade--was it a waterlily?--pendant that had been sent to $1,000 donors. Others there: Ray McCullough (running the L.A. Marathon the next morning) and his wife, Nancy; John and Ann Bookout; John and Mimi Harris; Fred and Suzanne Rheinstein; Nelson and Kelly Holdo; Donna and Don Gibbs; and lawyer Janet Davidson with her husband, Richard Plat of Orange County.
$1-Million Winner: Stephen and Sally Keller, John and Jeanie Cushman, Clement Hirsch, Betty Strub, Burt Bacharach, Georgia Ridder, Pierce Brosnan with Stephanie Powers, and Joseph and Barbara Harper were all in the Directors Room of the Baldwin Club at Santa Anita to watch Mr Purple win the seventh-race $1-million Santa Anita handicap. It was also a happy day for trainer Wayne Lukas, whose Saxton won the second race and whose Honour and Glory won the exciting fifth-race San Rafael Stakes.
William Gould, attending with Mary Ann, turned nearly every bet into gold. For John and Betty Mabee, the day was bittersweet. Their Best Pal has retired, but the sleek thoroughbred got terrific applause from the crowd when he was brought to the winner's ring. He retires with a huge endowment from the Mabees and all the carrots he can eat. "We did the endowment," said Betty Mabee, "because he's done so much for us and because he may outlive us."
Leap Year Froth: The Blue Ribbon of the Music Center took advantage of February's extra day to stage a Leap Year Dance at the Sportsmen's Lodge. (Judith Krantz, co-chairwoman, insists the Studio City restaurant has the best dance floor in town.) She and husband Steve were among those dancing into the wee hours to Jimmy Dorsey's 16-piece band. Others--Nancy and Richard Call, Ernestine Avery, Arletta Tronstein and her guest, Mark Buckman, and Toni Webb, with Frank Lane, barely took time to eat, so busy were they tripping the light fantastic. Cheryl Baker and Bridget Martens were also co-chairwomen.
Bridal Bliss: Saks Fifth Avenue has opened its doors to The Wedding Dress, an exclusive bridal boutique in its Beverly Hills and South Coast Plaza stores. Both boutiques are leased by Kleinfeld's. Laurel Mungo is managing the Beverly Hills salon and Anne Barge-Cleff the South Coast one.
Elsewhere on the Social Circuit
* Kudos to the new Los Angeles World Affairs Council board members: John E. Anderson, Paul Hazen, Leslie G. McCraw, Dick Poladian, William E.B. Siart, P. Gregory Garrison, John F. Maher, Barry Munitz and Charles R. Rinehart.
* Los Angeles will be in the philanthropy spotlight March 17-20. The Los Angeles Chapter of the National Society of Fund Raising Executives is busily making arrangements for the 4,000 fund-raising professionals participating in the NSFRE's 33rd International Conference. Workshops and receptions are scheduled, most at the Los Angeles Convention Center and the Westin Bonaventure.
* Keeping Up: Emporio Armani hosted its first cocktail fund-raiser to benefit Stuart House services for abused children, showing the Armani spring / summer collection . . . Los Angeles Master Chorale Associates celebrated the reopening of Angels Flight with a tea dance and music salon at Hotel Inter-Continental . . . The United Liver Assn. has reelected Gloria Moret president . . . Los Angeles Music Center Opera's onstage St. Valentine's Day gala netted $116,000.
* Mary Lou Loper's column is published Sundays.